The Biggest Bombshells in Trump Whistleblower Cassidy Hutchinson’s New White House Memoir


The Biggest Bombshells in Trump Whistleblower Cassidy Hutchinson’s New White House Memoir

Kyler Alvord – September 26, 2023

In her newly published book, “Enough,” the former White House aide shares disturbing allegations involving several D.C. power players, including Rudy Giuliani, Matt Gaetz and President Trump himself

<p>Candace Dane Chambers;  Simon and Schuster</p> Cassidy Hutchinson pictured in Washington, D.C. in September 2023; Hutchinson
Candace Dane Chambers; Simon and SchusterCassidy Hutchinson pictured in Washington, D.C. in September 2023; Hutchinson’s new memoir, “Enough,” out now

After laying low for more than a year, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is returning to the public eye with the release of a new tell-all memoir, Enough, that’s already put some of Donald Trump‘s allies on the defensive.

Hutchinson, who served as a top aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, became an instant public figure last summer when she testified against Trump in a televised hearing before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Immediately after her explosive testimony, she had to go into hiding for safety reasons, holed up in a Washington, D.C. hotel for several days before temporarily relocating to Atlanta to wait out the backlash.

In her 356-page book, published Tuesday, Hutchinson puts forth several previously unheard claims, walking readers through the ups and downs of her life, including her once-skyrocketing career. Along the way, the 26-year-old shares countless stories about her time before, during and after working in Trump’s White House, offering a brief on all of the major players in the modern Republican Party and the inner-workings of the Trump administration.

Related: First Look at Cassidy Hutchinson’s Memoir: Trump Whistleblower Details Life After Jan. 6 Testimony (Exclusive)

<p>Candace Dane Chambers</p> Cassidy Hutchinson stands before the U.S. Capitol in September 2023
Candace Dane ChambersCassidy Hutchinson stands before the U.S. Capitol in September 2023

Chock-full of details both consequential and just plain juicy, the book covers everything from Trump officials’ favorite candies (Jared Kushner gravitated to peach rings, she writes) to various lawmakers’ personalities (Sen. Ted Cruz lacked a sense of humor and once called her a “tattletale,” she alleges) to the president’s erratic leadership style (examples of which are too vast to summarize).

Hutchinson explains how various high-ranking Republicans reacted to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, and uses a wide range of anecdotes to exemplify her high-profile friendships in Washington, including with now-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Related: Cassidy Hutchinson Refuses to Respond to Donald Trump’s Insults: ‘Being Ignored Drives Him Mad’ (Exclusive)

<p>Tia Dufour/The White House</p> House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and powerful GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, walk past the Rose Garden with Cassidy Hutchinson on April 4, 2020
Tia Dufour/The White HouseHouse Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and powerful GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, walk past the Rose Garden with Cassidy Hutchinson on April 4, 2020

Some of the more damning claims in Hutchinson’s book include an alleged incident of groping by disgraced ex-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani on the morning of the U.S. Capitol Riot, the “vain” reason Trump didn’t want to be seen wearing a N95 mask during the pandemic, Meadows’ apparent sense of guilt surrounding prominent Republican Herman Cain‘s premature COVID death, and a couple of uncomfortable encounters with firebrand House Freedom Caucus member Matt Gaetz.

Asked whether she fears the attacks that may come as people pore over the details in her memoir, Hutchinson tells PEOPLE that she doesn’t, and that she stands by all of her claims.

“If somebody wants to attack the way that they come off in the book, I’m not going to hold myself responsible for what they may say about the way that they’re framed,” she says. “I’m holding them accountable to their own actions.”

Here, five of Hutchinson’s most memorable allegations scattered throughout the pages of Enough.

Trump refused to wear masks during the pandemic because his bronzer turned the straps visibly orange
<p>Drew Angerer/Getty </p> President Donald Trump stands in front of Dr. Anthony Fauci while speaking about coronavirus vaccine development in the White House Rose Garden on May 15, 2020
Drew Angerer/GettyPresident Donald Trump stands in front of Dr. Anthony Fauci while speaking about coronavirus vaccine development in the White House Rose Garden on May 15, 2020

According to Hutchinson’s new book, the anti-mask movement that Trump supporters spearheaded during COVID-19 — leading to countless preventable deaths nationwide — stemmed from a makeup mishap involving the president early on in the pandemic.

“The president tried on several N95 masks at the Honeywell plant in Phoenix, Arizona, which manufactured all manner of personal protective equipment (PPE). He was not thrilled that staff urged him to wear a mask, believing it would make him look weak and afraid of the virus,” Hutchinson writes. “He decided on a white mask and strapped it to his face before asking each staffer whether or not he should wear it in front of the press pool.”

Related: Governors Ask Congress to Investigate Trump’s ‘Politicization’ of COVID-19 Response

Hutchinson says that the president looked to her for input, making a “thumbs-up/thumbs-down” gesture. She shook her head, signaling that he shouldn’t wear it.

“I pointed at the straps of the N95 I was holding,” she recalls. “When he looked at the straps of his mask, he saw that they were covered in bronzer. ‘Why did no one else tell me that,’ he snapped. ‘I’m not wearing this thing.'”

“He wore safety goggles on the tour,” she continues in the book. “The press would criticize him for not wearing a mask, not knowing that the depth of his vanity had caused him to reject masks—and then millions of his fans followed suit.”

Related: Dr. Fauci Says He Was ‘Absolutely Not’ Surprised That President Trump Caught COVID-19

Cassidy says Rudy Giuliani groped her on the morning of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot
<p>Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty</p>
Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty

Buried in Hutchinson’s account of the chaos that ensued on Jan. 6, 2021, is a disturbing allegation that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani groped her — in the presence of a fellow Trump attorney, John Eastman.

In her memoir, Hutchinson recalls frantically looking for Giuliani as the morning’s rally was beginning — she says she was trying to get more information on what Trump and his confidants were planning that day, as well as convince the president’s closest advisers to keep Trump from meeting his supporters at the Capitol. She eventually tracked Giuliani down in a tent near the rally stage, and when Giuliani saw her, she says “the corners of his mouth split into a Cheshire cat smile.”

Waving a stack of documents — which he allegedly told her was evidence that Trump could still win the election — Giuliani approached Hutchinson “like a wolf closing in on its prey,” she writes.

“Rudy wraps one arm around my body, closing the space that was separating us. I feel his stack of documents press into the small of my back,” she writes. “I lower my eyes and watch his free hand reach for the hem of my blazer.”

After complimenting her leather jacket, she alleges, “His hand slips under my blazer, then my skirt. I felt his frozen fingertips trail up my thigh. He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes look jaundiced. My eyes dart to John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin.”

Related: Cassidy Hutchinson Claims Rudy Giuliani Groped Her on Jan. 6: ‘Like a Wolf Closing In on Its Prey’

Responding to the groping claim, Giuliani’s political adviser, Ted Goodman, told PEOPLE, “It’s fair to ask Cassidy Hutchinson why she is just now coming out with these allegations from two and a half years ago, as part of the marketing campaign for her upcoming book release.”

Eastman’s personal attorney, Charles Burnham, said his client “categorically denies” the allegation that he witnessed Hutchinson get groped, claiming that Eastman didn’t know who she was until her testimony before the Jan. 6 House committee in June 2022. “Dr. Eastman is considering defamation litigation against those responsible for making or publishing these libelous allegations,” he wrote in a statement shared with PEOPLE.

Related: Rudy Giuliani’s 60-Point Dive in Popularity Poll Stuns Data Reporter: ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’

Cassidy says Matt Gaetz made a pass at her at Camp David, and raised red flags among top Republicans prior to his sexual abuse allegations
<p>Drew Angerer/Getty</p> Rep. Matt Gaetz leaves a closed-door meeting with former White House counsel Don McGahn on June 4, 2021
Drew Angerer/GettyRep. Matt Gaetz leaves a closed-door meeting with former White House counsel Don McGahn on June 4, 2021

In Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 testimony, she alleged that Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz was among a handful of Republican lawmakers who sought a pardon from Trump before he left office. In her memoir, though, she shares multiple other stories centered around Gaetz — including a couple of uncomfortable moments she allegedly had with the controversial House Freedom Caucus member, resulting in a confrontation at Camp David at which Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy was present.

According to Hutchinson, she organized a May 2020 retreat at Camp David to which some of Trump’s closest friends in the House GOP were invited, including Gaetz and McCarthy. By the time the House members arrived in the evening, Trump and Meadows had already gone off to their cabins for the night. McCarthy “ordered a few bottles of bourbon and wine” from the bar and invited some of the members over to his cabin to drink, Hutchinson writes. Then around 1 a.m., she alleges, the few who were still hanging around heard a knock at McCarthy’s cabin door.

“I thought it was Camp David’s staff coming to quiet us down—Kevin’s cabin was across from the president’s. But when Kevin opened the door, we discovered Matt Gaetz leaning against the door frame,” she writes in the book. “Matt straightened his posture when Kevin asked him what he wanted, and he explained that he had seen my golf cart parked outside and thought that this was my cabin.”

She continues: “Embarrassed, I got up and asked Matt what he needed. He explained that he was lost and needed me to escort him back to his cabin. I told him to proceed around the circle drive—all the cabins were clearly marked and it was impossible to get lost. He asked me one more time to leave with him. ‘Get a life, Matt,’ Kevin said, then shut the door.”

Related: Matt Gaetz May Have Trouble Ahead — House Ethics Committee Quietly Reopens Its Probe into His Conduct: Report

At various points in the memoir, Hutchinson briefly mentions other strange interactions with Gaetz, like at a bar following Trump’s first impeachment vote, when she writes that Gaetz “chuckled and brushed his thumb across my chin” before allegedly asking her, “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a national treasure?”

In the later days of the administration, when Gaetz began dropping by on occasion to seek a pardon from Trump, Hutchinson writes, “I tried to dismiss Matt’s antics but began wondering why he was pushing so hard for a pardon. I raised the issue with Mark one day after Matt had left and asked if there was anything I should know about. ‘Between you and me,’ Mark said, ‘DOJ may be looking into something about Matt. Best to stay away from him. Can you do that for me?’ I nodded and promised I would.”

It was later reported that Gaetz was the subject of a sex trafficking probe for an alleged sexual relationship with an underage girl, but he was ultimately not indicted by the Justice Department. The House Ethics Committee reportedly reopened its own probe into his conduct in June 2023, the status of which is unknown.

Related: Ex-Matt Gaetz Associate Joel Greenberg Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking, Says He’ll Help Prosecutors

Asked for comment about the alleged encounters with Hutchinson, Gaetz told PEOPLE in a statement: “I don’t remember either of these events and based on Cassidy’s prior false statements, I doubt they occurred.”

The written statement continued: “I did date Cassidy for a few weeks when we were both single years ago. We parted amicably and remained friends thereafter, even during President Trump’s post presidency when she asked me to help her secure housing in South Florida because she was eager to continue working for President Trump. It is sad to see Cassidy dishonestly turn against so many people who cared about her for fame and book sales.”

Hutchinson denied ever dating Gaetz in a Monday night interview on The Rachel Maddow Show, saying that they were friends at times but that he “does not have the best track record for relationships” and that she has “much higher standards in men.”

Related: Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz Eloped amid Scandal and Sex Trafficking Investigation

Mark Meadows privately took some responsibility for former presidential candidate Herman Cain’s COVID-19 death
<p>NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty </p> Onetime presidential candidate Herman Cain (seated, left) attends a Trump 2020 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cain fell ill with COVID-19 days after the rally, and died of complications the following month.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via GettyOnetime presidential candidate Herman Cain (seated, left) attends a Trump 2020 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cain fell ill with COVID-19 days after the rally, and died of complications the following month.

Hutchinson’s book details the moment she informed Mark Meadows that former presidential candidate Herman Cain died from COVID-19 complications after attending Trump’s first pandemic-era campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She alleges that Meadows felt at least some responsibility for Cain’s death.

“I had slipped into Mark’s office when I got the news, my middle finger and thumb tapping together as I gnawed the inside of my cheek, wrestling with my words. ‘Chief, have you heard about Herman Cain?'” Hutchinson writes, recalling the July 30, 2020, conversation.

By her account, Meadows responded asking if Cain was all right, to which she replied, “No, Mark, he’s dead.” Hutchinson says the blood drained from Meadows’ face, and he began asking her questions: “He was in Tulsa wasn’t he?” (Yes, sir.) “That’s where he caught COVID, right?” (Yes, sir.)

“Mark had briefly turned his attention to the TV. I had assumed that he was wondering if the news had been made public,” she continues in the memoir. “He looked back at me and said flatly, ‘We killed Herman Cain.’ I could hear him swallow. ‘Get me his wife’s number,’ he said sadly.”

Related: Herman Cain Dies a Month After Contracting COVID-19: ‘Gone to Be with the Lord’

Earlier in the book, Hutchinson writes that Trump was getting stir-crazy in the first months of the pandemic, leading to the early campaign rallies: “What little patience the president possessed had been exhausted. He wanted to be out on the campaign trail. ‘We have to start doing rallies again,’ he stressed to anyone within earshot.”

“The consensus among senior staff was that rallies were a bad idea both for reasons of public health and because it wasn’t the time to wade into politics. Clearly indoor rallies were off-limits, for the former reason,” she continues in the book. “‘Antifa is having rallies every day on the streets,’ countered Trump, referring to the Black Lives Matter protests. ‘We are going to plan a big rally, and it’s going to happen as soon as possible.'”

Hutchinson writes that Trump’s adamancy signaled the planning of the June 20, 2020, Tulsa rally that Cain would ultimately attend.

“I had seen [Cain] in the risers behind the stage in Tulsa,” Hutchinson recalls in the book. “He grabbed my wrists and pumped my arms above my head, flashing his enigmatic smile as he cried out, ‘We’re going to win! We’re going to win! Four more years! Four more years!'”

Related: Tulsa City Health Official Says Trump Rally ‘Likely Contributed’ to Surge of New Coronavirus Cases

Cassidy says Liz Cheney secretly helped her break free from Trump’s legal team during the Jan. 6 investigation
<p>Brandon Bell/Getty</p> Cassidy Hutchinson hugs Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the Jan. 6 House committee, after her two-hour live testimony on June 28, 2022
Brandon Bell/GettyCassidy Hutchinson hugs Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the Jan. 6 House committee, after her two-hour live testimony on June 28, 2022

Initially represented by a Trump-aligned lawyer after getting subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Hutchinson struggled with what she characterized as his alleged instruction to be unforthcoming with the committee’s search for answers — and, eventually, to refuse testifying in subsequent depositions, even if it ran the “small risk” of being held in contempt of Congress.

“I knew in my heart that was a luxury I could not afford,” she writes. “There was only one option — to fulfill my moral and civic obligations.”

Hutchinson says she had already tried finding independent legal representation, meeting numerous lawyers and brainstorming ways to scrape together money — even visiting her estranged father to ask for financial help — but was met with unreasonably high fees at every turn.

Related: Trump Attorney Allegedly Told Cassidy Hutchinson to Give Misleading Testimony to Jan. 6 Committee

“To honor the oath I swore to defend, I had to free myself from Trump World,” she remembers thinking in the book. “All I had to do was figure out a way to free myself without doing anything that would draw their attention and arouse suspicion.”

In an earlier deposition, Hutchinson had tried to slyly feed committee members some helpful answers without appearing insubordinate to the Trump attorney accompanying her, and afterward, committee vice chair Liz Cheney had walked up to her, given her a hug, and whispered, “Thank you.” But she writes that she had more to say, and that she felt her attorney was trying to keep her from saying it.

In a bind, she quietly turned to one of the few people she felt she could trust — Cheney — arranging a phone call to discuss her situation and ask for help finding a new, affordable lawyer so she could come clean about what she saw in Trump’s White House.

The next day, Hutchinson says, Cheney provided her with a list of lawyers to reach out to that she believed would help. “I thanked her and promised that I would figure out a way to do the right thing, regardless of the outcome of the search for new counsel,” she writes. “I could not find the words to tell her that the committee was giving me one of the greatest gifts I could have received: hope.”

Soon, Hutchinson had signed an engagement letter with two lawyers who’d worked in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. They agreed to represent her pro bono.

Related: Liz Cheney Says Jan. 6 Role May Be ‘Most Important Thing I Ever Do’ amid Televised House Hearings

Hutchinson writes that she formed a friendship with Cheney after breaking free from Trump’s orbit, saying that when she was exiled after testifying live, she knew that she could always look to the Wyoming congresswoman for support.

“Liz checks on me every day,” she writes of the time that she was in hiding after testifying. “She sends encouraging articles, shares stories about the public support we’ve received since the hearing, and relays messages from prominent figures in the Republican Party, our Republican Party. We talk and laugh, I cry, we laugh some more. Liz is becoming my rock.”

Related: Rep. Liz Cheney Says She’s ‘Absolutely Confident’ in Cassidy Hutchinson’s Credibility amid Scrutiny

The acknowledgements section of Hutchinson’s book concludes with a nod to Cheney, who was ostracized from her party for supporting Trump’s second impeachment and ousted from Congress by a Trump-backed challenger in the 2022 midterm elections.

“Liz reminds us that true leadership is grounded in principle, and that change can be achieved through unyielding loyalty to our democratic ideals,” it reads. “May this book serve as a testament to the transformative power of leaders like Liz, who inspire us to be agents of the truth in our republic, and beyond. That we, as individuals, are enough.”

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

Associated Press – U.S. News

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

By Michael R. Sisak – September 26, 2023

FILE - Former President Donald Trump pauses before ending his remarks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Sept. 25, 2023. A New York judge ruled, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, that the former president and his company committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House. (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr., File)
FILE – Former President Donald Trump pauses before ending his remarks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Sept. 25, 2023. A New York judge ruled, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, that the former president and his company committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House. (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr., File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.

Judge Arthur Engoron, ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.

Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment, making it difficult or impossible for them to do business in New York, and said he would continue to have an independent monitor oversee the Trump Organization’s operations.

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling. Trump has long insisted he did nothing wrong.

FILE- Attorney Scott Grubman, who is defending Kenneth Chesebro, argues before Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. Past high-profile trials suggest additional scrutiny and stress for the four judges overseeing the indictments against former President Donald Trump. But the challenge facing Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee in Georgia is unlike any of the others. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool, File)

With cameras capturing every word, the pressure is on for the Georgia judge over Trump’s indictment

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.)

Trump lawyers say prosecutors want to ‘silence’ him with gag order in his federal 2020 election case

FILE - A woman walks across the street with a flag supporting President Donald Trump during a rally Jan. 6, 2021, in Huntington Beach, Calif. A state GOP rule change has opened the possibility that former President Donald Trump could sweep California’s entire trove of delegates in the March 5 primary, the plumpest prize in the party’s nominating contest. The election falls on Super Tuesday, when California is among more than a dozen states holding primaries and the largest number of delegates are up for grabs of any single day. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

California, a liberal bastion, may give Donald Trump an unlikely boost in 2024

The decision, days before the start of a non-jury trial in Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, is the strongest repudiation yet of Trump’s carefully coiffed image as a wealthy and shrewd real estate mogul turned political powerhouse.

Beyond mere bragging about his riches, Trump, his company and key executives repeatedly lied about them on his annual financial statements, reaping rewards such as favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, Engoron found.

Those tactics crossed a line and violated the law, the judge said, rejecting Trump’s contention that a disclaimer on the financial statements absolved him of any wrongdoing.

“In defendants’ world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies,” Engoron wrote in his 35-page ruling. “That is a is a fantasy world, not the real world.”

Manhattan prosecutors had looked into bringing a criminal case over the same conduct but declined to do so, leaving James to sue Trump and seek penalties that could disrupt his and his family’s ability to do business in the state.

Engoron’s ruling, in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, resolves the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but six others remain.

Engoron is slated to hold a non-jury trial starting Oct. 2 before deciding on those claims and any punishments he may impose. James is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York, his home state. The trial could last into December, Engoron has said.

Trump’s lawyers had asked the judge to throw out the case, which he denied. They contend that James wasn’t legally allowed to file the lawsuit because there isn’t any evidence that the public was harmed by Trump’s actions. They also argued that many of the allegations in the lawsuit were barred by the statute of limitations.

Engoron, noting that he had “emphatically rejected” those arguments earlier in the case, equated them to the “time-loop in the film ‘Groundhog Day.’”

James, a Democrat, sued Trump and the Trump Organization a year ago, alleging a pattern of duplicity that she dubbed “the art of the steal,” a twist on the title of Trump’s 1987 business memoir “The Art of the Deal.”

The lawsuit accused Trump and his company of routinely inflating the value of assets like skyscrapers, golf courses and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, padding his bottom line by billions.

Among the allegations were that Trump claimed his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan — a three-story penthouse replete with gold-plated fixtures — was nearly three times its actual size and valued the property at $327 million. No apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount, James said.

Trump valued Mar-a-Lago as high as $739 million — more than 10 times a more reasonable estimate of its worth. Trump’s figure for the private club and residence was based on the idea that the property could be developed for residential use, but deed terms prohibit that, James said.

Trump has denied wrongdoing, arguing in sworn testimony for the case that it didn’t matter what he put on his financial statements because they have a disclaimer that says they shouldn’t be trusted. He told James at the April deposition, “You don’t have a case and you should drop this case.”

“Do you know the banks were fully paid? Do you know the banks made a lot of money?” Trump testified. “Do you know I don’t believe I ever got even a default notice, and even during COVID, the banks were all paid? And yet you’re suing on behalf of banks, I guess. It’s crazy. The whole case is crazy.”

Engoron rejected that argument when the defense previously sought to have the case thrown out.

The judge said the disclaimer on the financial statements “makes abundantly clear that Mr. Trump was fully responsible for the information contained within” them and that “allowing blanket disclaimers to insulate liars from liability would completely undercut” the “important function” that such statements serve “in the real world.”

James’ lawsuit is one of several legal headaches for Trump as he campaigns for a return to the White House in 2024. He has been indicted four times in the last six months — accused in Georgia and Washington, D.C., of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss, in Florida of hoarding classified documents, and in Manhattan of falsifying business records related to hush money paid on his behalf.

The Trump Organization was convicted of tax fraud last year in an unrelated criminal case for helping executives dodge taxes on extravagant perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars. The company was fined $1.6 million. One of the executives, Trump’s longtime finance chief Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty and served five months in jail. He is a defendant in James’ lawsuit and gave sworn deposition testimony for the case in May.

James’ lawsuit does not carry the potential of prison time, but could complicate his ability to transact real estate deals. It could also stain his legacy as a developer.

James has asked Engoron to ban Trump and his three eldest children from ever again running a company based New York. She also wants Trump and the Trump Organization barred from entering into commercial real estate acquisitions for five years, among other sanctions. The $250 million in penalties she is seeking is the estimated worth of benefits derived from the alleged fraud, she said.

James, who campaigned for office as a Trump critic and watchdog, started scrutinizing his business practices in March 2019 after his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements provided to Deutsche Bank while trying to obtain financing to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

James’ office previously sued Trump for misusing his own charitable foundation to further his political and business interests. Trump was ordered to pay $2 million to an array of charities as a fine and the charity, the Trump Foundation, was shut down.

Reach’ to Compare Trump to Hitler: If You Don’t See It, ‘You’re Just Stupid’ or ‘You’re One of Them’ (Video)

The Wrap

‘Morning Joe’ Says It’s ‘Not a Reach’ to Compare Trump to Hitler: If You Don’t See It, ‘You’re Just Stupid’ or ‘You’re One of Them’ (Video)

Andi Ortiz – September 26, 2023

Donald Trump has returned to an old favorite insult, calling NBC and MSNBC an “enemy of the people” once again on Monday. As a result, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough argued on Tuesday that, at this point, “it’s not a reach” to liken Trump to Hitler “without any concerns whatsoever.”

In yet another angry screed on Truth Social, Trump wrote that if he were to win re-election, he would likely start charging organizations like NBC to be on the air, and investigate them for their “Country Threatening Treason.” To that, Scarborough only scoffed.

Homing in on the fact that Trump “says that the news network that is most critical of him should be taken off the air,” Scarborough immediately likened Trump to Hitler.

“This is not a reach, I can go back and talk about Nazi Germany and I do it without any concerns whatsoever,” Scarborough said. “And if people can’t start drawing the parallels, well, you’re just stupid or you have your head in the sand, or you’re one of them.”

As the conversation continued, Scarborough also compared Trump to Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister in Hungary, who heavily restricted free press in that country. But eventually, Scarborough’s musings returned to more graphic Hitler callouts.

“Do I think that Donald Trump’s could be allowed to line people up against a wall and shoot them? No, he’d like to. No doubt! I know him. And I’ve known him for a long time. And we can see this. He would like to; he’s not going to be allowed to.”

That said, Scarborough does expect Republicans to let him restrict the freedom of the press.

“That is something that Republicans — 50% of Americans are supporting him right now, despite the fact he steals nuclear secrets, and he steals war plans, and he says he’s going to terminate the constitution. So sure, they’ll let him shut down TV stations. That’s where we are!”

You can watch Scarborough’s full comments in the video above.

Trump Rant About ‘Batty’ Whales And Windmills Leaves Critics In Stitches


Trump Rant About ‘Batty’ Whales And Windmills Leaves Critics In Stitches

Josephine Harvey – September 26, 2023

Donald Trump’s on the warpath against his mortal enemy again, and it made a big splash on social media.

The former president raged during a campaign speech in South Carolina that “windmills” are driving whales “crazy.”

“Windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before. Nobody does anything about that,” he declared.

“They’re driving the wales, I think, a little batty,” he said.

Trump’s had a yearslong vendetta against wind turbines, ever since a lengthy and unsuccessful legal battle to stop Scottish officials from building what he called a “really ugly wind farm” in view of his Aberdeen golf resort.

The whales tidbit is just the latest in a long list of complaints he’s had about the renewable energy generators, including false claims that they cause cancer and kill “all the birds.

As absurd as it sounds, Trump’s not the first person to make some version of the whales claim, despite a lack of evidence.

Fox News and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly suggested that a spate of whale deaths off the East Coast earlier this year were linked to the early stages of development of offshore wind farms, a claim promulgated by climate deniers with ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Some environmental groups have also raised concerns about how the development and construction of wind farms could impact whales. However, the environmental community has pointed to the absence of any evidence suggesting there’s a link between the projects and whale deaths, and stressed the importance of renewable energy to combat climate change ― the greatest threat to marine life.

On its website, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there are no known links between large whale mortalities and offshore wind surveys.

“At this point, there is no scientific evidence that noise resulting from offshore wind site characterization surveys could cause mortality of whales,” the agency said.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management also said it had found no evidence, noting: “Past and current research show that vessel strikes and entanglements in fishing gear continue to pose a dangerous, life-threatening risk to whales.”

Users of X, formerly Twitter, were swimming in scorn over Trump’s fishy claim:

Arne Duncan

You literally could never make this stuff up if you tried, but the SNL skits will write themselves. “The windmills are driving the whales a little batty” tells you all you need to know about his fitness for duty… Deranged and impossibly stupid are descriptors that come to mind

Giuliani groping allegations, a ‘bonfire’ of documents: Takeaways from Cassidy Hutchinson book

USA Today

Giuliani groping allegations, a ‘bonfire’ of documents: Takeaways from Cassidy Hutchinson book

Bart Jansen, USA TODAY – September 26, 2023

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson says Trump didn't want people to know he lost

WASHINGTON – One of the biggest surprises in the new book from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former White House aide whose testimony electrified congressional hearings into the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, is that she still planned to work for Donald Trump in Florida after the riot.

Except Trump didn’t want her.

Hutchinson was a top aide to Mark Meadows, then Trump’s chief of staff. She planned to continue working for Trump at Mar-a-Lago after his term ended, she wrote in her book “Enough.”

But despite her loyalty, Meadows told Hutchinson two days before leaving the White House that Trump suspected her of leaking to the press the names of people joining him in Florida, which she denied.

“My frustration turned to rage. ‘Mark, you can go to hell if you think that,’” Hutchinson wrote. “That night I went home and unpacked, trying to let the news sink in that I wasn’t moving to Florida.”

Instead, Hutchinson became the most revelatory witness during the House’s investigation of Jan. 6 hearings and her book provides an explanation for the actions behind Trump’s criminal charges.

Anecdotes include how Meadows’ wife complained to her about the campfire smell of his burning papers. Rudy Giuliani allegedly groped her at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. And her observations foreshadowed criminal charges Trump would face over the handling of classified documents and trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Here are five takeaways from the book:

Cassidy Hutchinson, top former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, appears before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
Giuliani approached ‘like a wolf closing in on its prey,” Hutchinson wrote

The book largely tracks the testimony Hutchinson delivered before the House committee that investigated Jan. 6. But one revelation was her accusation that Giuliani, Trump’s chief campaign lawyer, groped her at the president’s Jan. 6 rally near the White House. Giuliani has denied the allegation.

Hutchinson wrote that she was in a tent with Giuliani and another campaign lawyer who spoke at the rally, John Eastman, who had a “Cheshire cat smile.” Giuliani approached her “like a wolf closing in on its prey,” Hutchinson wrote.

Giuliani complimented her leather jacket, which she told him was faux leather, and he wrapped his arm around her body, Hutchinson wrote.

“His hand slips under my blazer, then my skirt,” Hutchinson wrote. “I feel his frozen fingertips trail up my thigh. He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes looked jaundiced. My eyes dart to John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin.”

Hutchinson wrote that she recoiled and stormed away in a rage.

Giuliani denied the allegations during an interview with Newsmax. He estimated the tent was filled with 100 people and that he was surrounded by staffers or supporters the entire time.

“The claims are absolutely false, totally absurd,” Giuliani said.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani speaks on Jan. 6, 2021, during a speech at the Trump rally near the White House before the Capitol riot.
Meadows’ wife said his suits ‘smell like a bonfire’ from burning documents, Hutchinson wrote

Meadows was burning so much paperwork in his office fireplace during the final weeks of the administration that Hutchinson wrote she was worried he would set off the smoke detectors.

Hutchinson propped open the door to a patio despite the chill on Dec. 19, 2020, she wrote.

The Presidential Records Act requires White House staffers to preserve their documents and send them to the National Archives. Copies and personal documents were supposed to be destroyed in burn bags, she wrote.

“I do not know precisely what papers Mark was burning, but his actions raised alarms,” she wrote. “Even if he was burning copies, he was still toeing a fine line of what should be preserved, under the law.”

Meadows’ wife Debbie, who helped pack his belongings when leaving the White House, asked Hutchinson and another staffer not to light the fireplace any more.

“All of his suits smell like a bonfire and I can’t keep up with his dry cleaning,” Hutchinson quoted Debbie Meadows as saying.

A photo showing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, is displayed on a monitor as Hutchinson testified during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol hearing to present previously unseen material and hear witness testimony in Cannon Building, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
Hutchinson compares White House on Jan. 6 to Titanic

Hutchinson breaks little new ground in the book from her testimony before the committee. But her eye for detail is often amusing, such as when she notices when arriving at the rally Jan. 6 the loudspeakers are playing “My Heart Will Go On,” from the movie “Titanic.”

“The ship is the White House,” Hutchinson tells a friend, who replies: “And we’re in steerage.”

The book echoed her testimony from her House testimony:

  • Hutchinson helped clean up the ketchup smeared on a fireplace mantel and shattered plate on the floor of his private dining room off the Oval Office. Trump had thrown his lunch in anger at then-Attorney General Bill Barr telling the Associated Press on Dec. 1, 2020, that Trump had lost the election.
  • Hutchinson couldn’t hear what the fight was about Dec. 18, 2020, but the raised voices erupting from the Oval Office were “highly unusual.” According to the House Committee that investigated the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, and lawyer Sidney Powell, among others, were urging Trump to seize voting machines, which White House lawyers opposed. “The screaming was much louder than I anticipated,” Hutchinson wrote.
  • Hutchinson also recited an exchange Jan. 6, 2021, with Tony Ornato, then-deputy of staff and a Secret Service official. Ornato described an “irate” Trump demanding to be taken to the Capitol in his vehicle nicknamed “the Beast,” before Secret Service agent Bobby Engel rebuffed him, Hutchinson wrote. Ornato described Trump “grabbing for the steering wheel, and then for Bobby’s neck,” Hutchinson wrote.
Hutchinson’s observations about classified documents, Jan. 6 foreshadow criminal charges against Trump

Hutchinson foreshadows the criminal charges against Trump.

At one point, Meadows scolds her for storing classified binders about Crossfire Hurricane, an FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, in a safe rather than in her desk drawer as he instructed, Hutchinson wrote.

Meadows asked her to coordinate declassification of documents during the final month of the administration, she wrote. She described carrying armloads of classified documents around White House offices, despite not holding a security clearance to deal with them.

“When I got to Florida, I reminded myself, I would have a fresh opportunity to restore order so the president would be better served,” Hutchinson wrote.

Trump has been charged in federal court in Florida with mishandling hundreds of classified documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House. Trump pleaded not guilty.

When Meadows traveled to Georgia on vacation, he visited the Cobb County Civic Center, where state election officials were auditing ballot signatures.

A Fulton County grand jury cited the visit in the racketeering indictment of Trump, Meadows and 17 others.

Meadows arranged the call Jan. 2, 2021, when Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him to the win the state. After the call, White House counsel Pat Cipollone appeared at Meadows’ office and said: “That call was not good,” Hutchinson wrote.

Meadows has pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy and to asking Raffensperger to violate his oath of office. His lawyers contend the “kerfuffle” about his trip to Georgia was based on discharging his official duties.

A video deposition with Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is played as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.
Hutchinson dedicates book to lawyers who represented her for free

The book is dedicated to Hutchinson’s pro bono lawyers rather than to her parents or others.

She was initially represented in the congressional investigation of Jan. 6 by a lawyer arranged by former White House aides: Stefan Passantino. But she worried about misleading the committee with incomplete answers about what she saw, as she eventually testified to the committee.

Passantino never told her to lie, as she testified and writes in the book. He sought to keep her testimony brief and uneventful. But Hutchinson feared what would happen if she left out important information as the committee called her back for a third deposition, such as about Trump wanting to visit the Capitol.

“Liz Cheney zeroed in on how I knew what had been said in the Beast: ‘So who relayed to you the conversation that happened in the Beast?’” Hutchinson wrote. “I froze. I thought for certain she had heard that something eventful had happened, and she suspected I knew what it was.”

Hutchinson worried she had lied to the committee by not explaining more fully. As she cast about for a new lawyer, Bill Jordan and Jody Hunt of Alston & Bird volunteered to represent her for free.

“Well, Cassidy, it looks like you’ve had quite the adventure the last few years,” Jordan told her, according to her book.

Cassidy Hutchinson’s new book reveals a Trump White House even more chaotic than previously known


Cassidy Hutchinson’s new book reveals a Trump White House even more chaotic than previously known

Jake Tapper, Jeremy Herb, Makayla Humphrey – September 26, 2023

Cassidy Hutchinson’s new book, “Enough”. – Courtesy Simon & Schuster
Cassidy Hutchinson’s new book reveals a Trump White House even more chaotic than previously known

In her new book “Enough,” former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson paints the closing days of the Trump White House as even more chaotic and lawless than she previously disclosed in her shocking televised testimony last summer. President Donald Trump lashes out unpredictably and makes wild demands. Chief of staff Mark Meadows leaks classified documents to friendly right-wing media figures and burns documents. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani gropes Hutchinson inappropriately the day of the Capitol insurrection.

She also depicts major Republican figures, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy, stating clearly behind the scenes what they refrained from telling the American people: that Joe Biden won the presidential election and Trump lost.

Hints that integrity wasn’t exactly the word of the day were there from the beginning, of course. “Cass, if I can get through this job and manage to keep (Trump) out of jail, I’ll have done a good job,” Meadows told Hutchinson in June 2020.

Hutchinson’s book describes her meteoric rise from idealistic Capitol Hill intern at the beginning of the Trump administration to the indispensable aide to the White House chief of staff in the president’s final year. Hutchinson, whose testimony before the January 6 committee provided the most damning inside account of Trump’s actions – and lack of action – on January 6, describes her internal struggle about what transpired at the end of the Trump administration and how she ultimately chose to come forward and testify fully about what she saw in the West Wing.

To hear Hutchinson tell it, the Trump world felt almost like a criminal organization where loyalty was prized above everything. After one 2020 campaign rally, Meadows asked her, “Would you take a bullet for him?” – meaning Trump.

“Could it be to the leg?” Hutchinson tried to joke back.

Meadows responded that he would “do anything” to get Trump reelected.

After Trump’s indoor, mask-free rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the height of the Covid pandemic, attendee and former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain contracted the virus and died.

“We killed Herman Cain,” Meadows told Hutchinson and asked for his wife’s phone number.

A spokesman for Meadows disputed Hutchinson’s account in a statement to CNN. The spokesperson said it was offensive to suggest this was Meadows’ initial reaction to Cain’s death. “In the days after he was expressing exasperation that the media would blame the President for Mr. Cain’s death. Very different,” the spokesperson said.

That did little to change the White House’s attitude about masking. In fact, at one visit to an N-95 plant, Hutchinson advised Trump to remove his mask before facing the cameras because his bronzer is smearing on its elastic straps. In another instance in the frenzy after the election, visitors to the White House who tested positive for Covid were admitted regardless because Trump insisted on meeting with them.

These ethical mores or – or the lack thereof – were taken to the campaign trail where, Hutchinson writes, Meadows met furtively with former Hunter Biden business associate Tony Bobulinski while being shielded from public view by Secret Service agents.

Hutchinson didn’t start truly questioning the men she worked alongside until after the election, but even then, it was late coming. As Trump watched Giuliani’s notorious hair-dye-leaking press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, he shouted, according to Hutchinson, “Somebody make this stop! Get him off! Make him stop!”

But even then, she says, she “didn’t blame the president for any of it yet. I didn’t want to blame him. I felt strongly that he should concede the election, and I worried that we were surrounding him with people who fueled his most impulsive behaviors. I knew things could get out of hand, and fast.”

‘I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark’

Meadows emerges in the book as not only duplicitous but as a fall guy for folks who don’t want to admit that Trump had lost grip with reality. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe expressed concern about the president’s unpredictability, noting that one minute “he acknowledges he lost… Then he’ll immediately backpedal.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, walks with senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson before a campaign rally in North Carolina on October 22, 2020. - Tom Brenner/Reuters
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, walks with senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson before a campaign rally in North Carolina on October 22, 2020. – Tom Brenner/Reuters

McCarthy told Hutchinson the same thing. They both blamed Meadows. After the US Supreme Court declined to hear the bizarre lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, full of lies and false claims about the election, Trump pushed Meadows, “Why didn’t we make more calls? We needed to do more. … We can’t let this stand.”

Trump continued, “I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Figure it out.” Even then, when Meadows assured Trump he would work on it, Hutchinson’s irritation is with Meadows for giving Trump false hope, not with Trump for demanding that his delusions become reality.

Hutchinson’s claim that Trump admitted to Meadows that he lost is the latest in a series of eye-witness accounts of Trump periodically admitting in private to having lost the election. Hutchinson testified to both federal investigators and the Fulton County grand jury, she writes, though she was not referenced in any of the indictments of Trump.

Hutchinson describes a White House that in its final weeks had turned to utter lawlessness, with Meadows regularly burning documents in the fireplace of the chief of staff’s office. After Meadows’ office became smoky before a meeting, former GOP Rep. Devin Nunes asked Hutchinson, “How often is he burning papers?” When Meadows’ wife came to help pack his office in January 2021, she pleaded to Hutchinson, “Mark doesn’t need to burn anything else. All of his suits smell like a bonfire.”

The Meadows spokesperson said that Hutchinson’s telling was an “absurd mischaracterization.”

“Mrs. Meadows was referencing how the wood fireplace made the office smell smoky — and we often started it using old newspaper. It had nothing to do with documents,” the spokesperson said.

On that wild day of December 18, 2020, when Trump considered proposals in the Oval Office to seize voting machines, White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told Hutchinson he “heard the president talk about the Insurrection Act or martial law,” she writes.

Hutchinson writes that at one point during the Oval Office meeting, she heard Trump screaming, “I don’t care how you do it just get it fucking done!” It’s unclear what the ‘it’ referred to however.

As senior staffers tried to get Meadows to return to the White House to get the likes of his onetime national security adviser Mike Flynn, former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne to leave the Oval Office, White House staff secretary Derek Lyons asked, “Does the chief really need more of a reason to come back? Here it is. Martial law.”

Those plans, of course, did not come to fruition, and Trump looked for other avenues to overturn his election loss, pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes to flip the Peach State from Biden to Trump.

“That call was not good,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Meadows, according to Hutchinson, who writes that Cipollone was listening in on the call. Testifying under oath to the January 6 committee last year, Cipollone said he had no memory of knowing about the call until he read about it in the press.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesman for Cipollone denied he was on the Georgia call, noting that Cipollone was not among those Meadows introduced at the start of the call.

‘I think It’s going to go well’

In the weeks after the election, January 6 remained the fail-safe, and Hutchinson writes that Trump visiting Capitol Hill was part of the plan until the very end. “On New Year’s Eve, (Meadows) asked me to talk to Tony (Ornato) about a potential motorcade movement to Capitol Hill following the president’s rally.”

“I think the Sixth is going to go well,” Trump said. “Do you think it’s going to go well, Chief?”

“Yes, sir,” Meadows replied. “I think it’s going to go well.”

Many of the stories Hutchinson tells about that day were parts of her testimony. Trump knew about the weapons his supporters were carrying – “Big guy knows,” Ornato said, and at this point in the narrative, Hutchinson still found that news reassuring, as if it meant Trump would do something to stop it. She recounts the tell-tale moment at the Ellipse when she heard the president roaring: “Take the fucking mags (metal detectors) down … Look at all those people in the trees. They want to come in. Let them. Let my people in. Take the fucking mags away. They’re not here to hurt me.”

Soon after, backstage at the rally, Giuliani slipped his hand up Hutchinson’s skirt and up her thigh, Hutchinson alleges in the book. (Giuliani denied her allegation to Newsmax, calling it “absurd.”) She stormed away, filled with rage. But it was nothing compared with the rage she later felt after the Capitol was attacked and people died, Hutchinson writes.

As the attack on the Capitol unfolded, Hutchinson said thoughts raced through her mind about what she needed to do – and she worried it could be the beginning of a coup.

“We have to have a plan in place in case the worst happens. In case this is the beginning of a coup,” she writes.

Even this was not enough yet. Hutchinson remained part of Team Trump. Unlike White House communications director Alyssa Farah, who resigned on December 3, 2020, or deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews, who left on January 6, 2021, Hutchinson remained.

Rudy Giuliani speaks  from The Ellipse on January 6, 2021 - Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Rudy Giuliani speaks from The Ellipse on January 6, 2021 – Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Part of Hutchinson’s rationale was that she saw herself as someone who could help maintain protocols during the final days of the Trump presidency, particularly as Meadows scrambled to get hold of a binder containing highly classified documents related to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

She was shocked when Meadows gave the classified documents to two right-wing media personalities who regularly toe the MAGA line.

The Meadows spokesman said that Hutchinson’s account was false, and that the documents had already been declassified by Trump. The White House counsel’s office asked for the documents back, the spokesperson said, because they contained elements of personal information that needed to be redacted.

“It was not an issue of classification – it was about procedural redactions,” the spokesperson said.

Hutchinson, however, writes that Cipollone told her the documents were still full of classified information, and he demanded their return. Before she could leave to call Meadows, Cipollone added: “Hey Cass, while you’re on the phone with him, can you tell him we cannot pardon Kimberly Guilfoyle’s gynecologist?”

“My jaw was hanging as I turned around to look at Pat. I knew by the look on his face that he was dead serious,” she writes.

According to Guilfoyle’s testimony to the January 6 committee, she was seeking to help the son of her former gynecologist, a well-respected California doctor.

‘We just want to protect the president’

The book is a journey, with Hutchinson judging herself to have been “complicit” in the decisions that led to January 6. After telling the story of her troubled upbringing – with a largely absent and ultimately abusive father – Hutchinson’s story is mostly about her time working for a president she once “adored.”

Initially, Hutchinson says, she was “transfixed” by Trump and how he electrified the crowds at his rallies. Working in the White House, first in the Office of Legislative Affairs and then under Meadows, she focused on her mission of helping the president and being a “loyal foot soldier,” she writes.

Cassidy Hutchinson and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch as President Trump speaks aboard Air Force One after a campaign event in Wisconsin - Tom Brenner/Reuters
Cassidy Hutchinson and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany watch as President Trump speaks aboard Air Force One after a campaign event in Wisconsin – Tom Brenner/Reuters

Numerous examples of Trump’s questionable behavior are glossed over as Hutchinson, ever the loyal aide, saw them as normal at the time. That includes Trump’s 2019 phone call with Zelensky that ultimately led to his first impeachment and the 2020 Atlantic story about Trump referring to American soldiers killed during World War I as “losers” and “suckers” – which a former senior administration official with firsthand knowledge confirmed to CNN.

In the summer of 2017, Trump’s first year in office, Hutchinson was an intern in Sen. Ted Cruz’s office. By 2020, she was dressing down the Texas Republican senator for showing up uninvited to Trump’s arrival on a Texas tarmac, warning him that if he didn’t leave it would be the “last presidential event you ever receive an invitation to.”

Trump loyalists attack Hutchinson to this day as having tried to work for the 45th president in Florida well past January 6, 2021, and Hutchinson fully owns up to that, making clear that her break with the president and his team didn’t come until Meadows fully made clear she wouldn’t be part of the post-presidency – a move that didn’t happen until her final three days in the White House.

Much of what Trump loyalists throw at her to discredit her – for instance, her pleading for help in getting a lawyer – she admits in “Enough.”

The House January 6 committee made much of Hutchinson changing lawyers because of suggestions that her first, Stefan Passantino, was encouraging her to be less than truthful under oath. Hutchinson writes that Passantino discouraged her from fully cooperating. “No, no, no. We want to get you in and get you out,” he told her.

“We were to downplay my role, he explained, as strictly administrative. I was an assistant, nothing more,” she writes. “Stefan never told me to lie to the committee. ‘I don’t want you to perjure yourself,’ he insisted. ‘But “I don’t recall” isn’t perjury.’” At another time he told her, “We just want to protect the president,” she writes.

The book also explains one of the mysteries of the January 6 inquiry: With so many uncooperative witnesses, how did the committee know what to ask Hutchinson to get her to disclose her damning testimony while she was still represented by the attorney paid for by Trump world? It turns out, Hutchinson writes, that she coordinated with Farah, who is now a CNN political commentator, telling her everything she knew. Farah spoke with committee vice chair Liz Cheney, who then knew what to ask Hutchinson during the committee’s third closed-door deposition with her.

Jobs are dangled and then withdrawn from Hutchinson as she begins to cooperate with the committee. Soon, she is shut out and then demonized by Trump world. She leaves open the question as to what might have happened historically if Trump and Meadows had trusted her and invited her to Mar-a-Lago.

But Hutchinson’s courageous testimony did occur, so perhaps more important to the republic today is the question of how many more witnesses with Trump-world-funded attorneys involved in current prosecutions and investigations are experiencing the same situation.

Floridians stunned by Citizens Insurance ‘depopulation’ letters

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Floridians stunned by Citizens Insurance ‘depopulation’ letters

Ron Hurtibise – September 25, 2023

Tens of thousands of customers of Florida’s state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are getting a stunning surprise in their mailboxes.

It’s a letter from Citizens’ “Depopulation Unit” stating their policies have been assumed by a private-market company.

Cause for celebration? Not if the private company’s estimated annual premium is higher than what the policyholder is paying Citizens.

Delores Smerkers, a Davie retiree, said her Citizens policy renewed in July for $5,523 — $650 more that what she paid last year. Less than two months later, in late August, she received a letter saying her coverage was being assumed by Safepoint Insurance Co.

The letter stated that her estimated cost to renew her Safepoint policy will be $6,650 — an increase of $1,127.

That’s a substantial price hike, but because it’s less than 20% above her Citizens premium, she is ineligible to reject the offer and stay with Citizens.

Smerkers says she doesn’t know how many more insurance price hikes she and her disabled husband can endure as they try to live out the remainder of their lives in the modest 1,750-square-foot villa they bought new in 1978.

“It’s a shame,” she said. “People on fixed incomes are hurting the most. We’re not rich. We worked like dogs all our lives. Now look at where we are at.”

More than 300,000 Citizens policyholders are getting letters stating that their policies have been selected for removal in October by one or more of five private-market companies.

Targeted policyholders are ineligible to remain with Citizens if their letter identifies a private company’s “estimated renewal premium” that’s less than 20% over Citizens’ estimated renewal premium for comparable coverage.

But if all estimated renewal premiums exceed 20% of Citizens’, the policyholder can opt to remain with Citizens by logging onto the company’s website or asking their insurance agent to make the selection for them.

Removal is automatic for those who don’t take action

October marks the first of two depopulation efforts. Another is scheduled in November.

Five companies have been approved to take 184,000 policies from Citizens in October: Florida Peninsula (up to 19,000 policies), Monarch (10,000), Safepoint (30,000), Slide (100,000) and Southern Oak (25,000).

Letters sent to selected policyholders state that the transfer will take place on Oct. 17 unless the policyholder selects another option by Oct. 5. But the Oct. 5 deadline was moved to Oct. 10 after a vendor handling the mail-outs fell behind, leaving some recipients with only a couple weeks to act.

Of 311,250 policyholders informed that they’ve been selected for takeout in October, 99,500 have so far elected to remain with Citizens, according to data provided by Citizens spokesman Michael Peltier. Just 9% — 28,750 — have selected a private company. And the majority, 183,000, have not yet registered a selection.

Anyone who fails to make a selection will automatically be transferred on Oct. 17 to the private company identified in their letter with the lowest premium, Peltier said.

Targeted policyholders don’t have to pay more now

Some policyholders who have received a depopulation letter say they were confused about the estimated renewal premiums identified in the letter.

The premiums are just estimates of the following year’s insurance costs and don’t have to be paid right away. Even if a policyholder accepts the transfer, the coverage remains in place at the current Citizens rate until the policy expires.

In Smerkers’ case, she won’t owe the new $6,650 premium until her Citizens policy is set to expire in July.

Deerfield Beach resident Jeff Torrey said it took a phone call to his agent to clarify that he didn’t owe more money immediately.

He received a letter in mid-September saying Slide was assuming his policy on Oct. 17 and that he was ineligible for Citizens because Slide’s estimated renewal premium was nearly $1,000 more but $185 under the 20% threshold.

“I thought come Oct. 17, I was going to have to pay more,” Tolley said in an interview. The agent told him “the letter is not very clear. It’s confusing.”

In addition, those estimates could change prior to the policy renewal date, and that could change policyholders’ eligibility to remain with Citizens.

Policyholders currently ineligible to remain with Citizens are advised to wait until 90 days before their policies are set to renew with the new company and then look at the difference between the actual renewal rates at that time. If the difference falls below 20%, the policyholder will be eligible to return to Citizens.

Steve Rogosin, a Plantation-based insurance agent, said 55 of his clients have received depopulation letters and of those, only half are currently eligible to remain with Citizens.

“I tell them to carefully read the offer, and then on an individual basis, we help them make their decision,” he said.

Most who remain eligible to stay with Citizens are choosing to do so, he said. Other options are available beyond the private companies identified in the letters, but “they’re not cheaper than Citizens,” he said.

Brian Murphy, co-owner of a Brightway Insurance agency in Palm Beach Gardens, said one of his clients who’s currently paying $4,400 for his Citizens policy received a letter estimating the new company would charge him $8,200 when it comes time to renew his policy.

“So he gets to stay in Citizens,” Murphy said.

New law will make more ineligible to stay in Citizens

The current round isn’t like recent depopulation efforts.

What’s new is the 20% threshold. It’s being used to reduce the number of policies held by the state’s “insurer of last resort.”

Citizens’ board of governors and legislators that oversee the program have become anxious in recent years about the company’s renewed growth. As private-market companies stopped writing policies or were driven to bankruptcy, Citizens’ policy count increased from 420,000 in 2019 to 1.4 million currently.

Such a large number of policies sets off alarm bells, because if a major hurricane wipes out Citizens’ ability to pay claims, the company will have to levy surcharges and assessments to make up the shortfall.

Citizens’ policyholders would first face surcharges of up to 45% of their premiums.

If that’s not enough, a special assessment would be imposed to collect 2% of the cost of every homeowner, auto, specialty and surplus lines policy in the state.

And there’s more. If those two levies don’t generate enough, Citizens has the right to impose on all policies — Citizens and private-market — an emergency assessment of up to 10% for each of Citizens’ three accounts.

Until this year, Citizens customers targeted for removal could opt out for any reason.

And that worked for awhile, as a 10-year stretch without a major hurricane making landfall in Florida enabled some private-market companies to offer rates lower than Citizens.

But over the past five years, the private insurance market has hemorrhaged tens of millions of dollars, forcing companies to raise their rates far above Citizens.

Citizens, in turn, was prohibited from keeping pace by raising its rates more than an average 10% each year.

Last year, the state Legislature enacted the 20% threshold and put Citizens on a path to increase rates by increasing the rate cap by a percentage point a year until it reaches 15% in 2026.

More companies signal an improved insurance market

Murphy said his firm has a team of people answering questions from clients about their depopulation letters.

They’ve haven’t heard many complaints, he said, possibly because clients understand that Citizens is “stretched” and has to depopulate.

But he sees the number of companies willing to assume Citizens policies as a good sign that the market is poised to recover.

A big reason companies are reentering the market, experts say, is that reforms enacted by the state Legislature last year remove enticements for repair contractors and plaintiffs attorneys to file lawsuits against insurers.

Removing those enticements reduces potential for losses and should help convince insurers that they’ll again be able to make a profit in the Florida market, they say.

“Other carriers are coming in with some appetite,” Murphy said. “And I believe we’re going to see more in 18 months.”

Meanwhile, depopulation targets who were able to remain in Citizens shouldn’t get too comfortable. They might soon get targeted again.

Agents are gearing up for a fresh round of depopulation offers to start going out in late September.

Six companies, including the four participating in this month’s round, have been approved to remove up to 196,399 Citizens policies on Nov. 21.

According to letters informing policyholders about the Oct. 17 takeouts, “If your policy is not successfully assumed, you may continue receiving future offers from private-market insurance companies interested in removing your policy from Citizens.”

Republican Case Against Biden Beautifully Goes Up in Flames on Fox News

The New Republic

Republican Case Against Biden Beautifully Goes Up in Flames on Fox News

Tori Otten – September 25, 2023

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday completely—and hilariously—destroyed one of Republicans’ main arguments to prove that Joe Biden is corrupt.

Republicans launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden, after months of insisting that the president is guilty of criminal wrongdoing. The GOP has yet to produce any actual evidence of their claims. But one of their main talking points is that Poroshenko fired former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin after Biden pressured him to do so.

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade played Poroshenko a clip of Shokin saying Biden wanted him fired because he had been investigating the oil company Burisma Holdings while Hunter Biden served on the board.

“First of all, this is [a] completely crazy person,” Poroshenko replied without hesitation, referring to Shokin. “This is something wrong with him. Second, there is not one single word of truth.”

“Please do not use such a person like Shokin to undermine the trust we feel” from both U.S. parties, he continued.

Poroshenko added that Shokin was fired because “he played very dirty games.”

Shokin was fired in 2016 for corruption. Three years later, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani started a conspiracy theory that the Biden family accepted a $10 million bribe to remove Shokin to stop a probe into Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma. This claim has been repeatedly debunked by the owner of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, as well as Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas. And now, the former Ukrainian president himself.

AAA says it now costs more than $12,000 a year to drive a vehicle

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AAA says it now costs more than $12,000 a year to drive a vehicle

Jonathon Ramsey – September 25, 2023

It’s time for the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) 2023 “Your Driving Costs” study. The spreadsheet breaks down the average yearly costs of owning a new vehicle and driving it for either 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 miles. The five top-selling vehicles of 2023 across nine categories are included, from small sedan to half-ton pickup, hybrid, and EV. Sample costs factored in are fuel, maintenance, full-coverage insurance, registration and taxes, finance charges, and depreciation at each mileage level. In 2019, Your Driving Costs came up with an annual outlay of $9,282 for the first five years of ownership, driving 15,000 miles per year. That was a 5% bump over 2018. In 2021, the annual cost had risen to $9,666 for the same use case. This year’s study is out, and no one will be surprised to find costs are up: AAA says it costs an average of $12,182 every year — $1,015.17 every month — to drive for five years at 15,000 miles per year.

That’s almost $1,500 more last year’s study result of $10,728 annually.

The average annual cost to own and maintain a small sedan is $8,939. A compact front-wheel drive SUV needs $10,066, a midsize AWD SUV is $11,971, an electric vehicle is $10,112. It’s the enormous popularity of half-ton crew cab pickups that drives the final figure, their annual costs $15,858. We’d be interested in results that excluded pickups just to see the difference. 

No denying it costs more to own any kind of car, though. It starts with MSRPs still being elevated. The knock-on effect is elevated car payments, especially with more new buyers choosing shorter terms to get manufacturer incentives that don’t come with the 84-month terms. And higher interest rates eat up savings no matter the term. Earlier this month, Experian Automotive research said the average monthly car payment is $729 for a new car and $528 for a used carJ.D. Power followed that up with news about the rising costs of auto insurance, rates getting so high that more households have stopped buying coverage. The same story explained that higher insurance premiums are partly due to skyrocketing vehicle repair costs. 

Of note, the AAA study doesn’t include luxury cars, so the average MSRP of the new cars among the field is $35,000. Even though that’s up 4.7% from last year, there’s quite the gap between that number and the most recent data on average transaction prices; KBB information for July put the average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle at $44,700, an amount that’s held pretty steady throughout the year. The KBB number jives with Experian Automotive’s finding that the average loan amount for a new vehicle in Q1 of this year was $40,851.

Going lightly used was once a slam dunk for big savings, but those days are gone for now. A new study from iSeeCars showed that buyers spending $23,000 could get a three-year-old car in 2019, but now, that amount struggles to buy a six-year-old vehicle.

Jimmy Carter makes rare public appearance, days before his birthday and 7 months after starting hospice

ABC News

Jimmy Carter makes rare public appearance, days before his birthday and 7 months after starting hospice

Tal Axelrod – September 24, 2023

Jimmy Carter makes rare public appearance, days before his birthday and 7 months after starting hospice

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, made a surprise appearance in their Georgia hometown on Saturday — having largely retreated from the spotlight amid health challenges.

The Carters went to the Plains Peanut Festival in what seems to have been their first outing since the announcement seven months ago that Jimmy Carter would receive hospice care. The couple previously attended two events last year.

“Beautiful day for President & Mrs. Carter to enjoy a ride through the Plains Peanut Festival! And just a week before he turns 99. We’re betting peanut butter ice cream is on the menu for lunch! #JimmyCarter99,” the Carter Center wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. (Peanut butter is a favorite of Jimmy Carter’s.)

At 98, he is both the oldest living and longest-lived U.S. president. He will turn 99 on Oct. 1.

MORE: Jimmy Carter’s grandson pays tribute ahead of his 99th birthday

PHOTO: Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn at the 25th annual Peanut Festival parade in Plains, Ga., on Sept. 24, 2022, in a photo shared by The Carter Center. (The Carter Center/Facebook)

The former president’s office announced in February that he had decided to receive hospice care following a series of short hospital stays. He had suffered multiple falls in 2019 and survived cancer in 2015.

In May, the Carter Center said the former first lady had been diagnosed with dementia. The Carters are also the longest-married presidential couple in American history, having wed in 1946.

The Carter Center launched a tribute earlier this month for the former president’s upcoming birthday.

PHOTO: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in Plains, Ga., July 10, 2021. (John Bazemore/Pool via Reuters, FILE)

Jason Carter, the former president’s grandson, recently said on “GMA3” that “we didn’t know, and we didn’t believe at the time, that we were going to get to this 99th birthday.”

“They are coming to the end, of course, at this time in their lives. But they are at peace, they are together, they’re at home, they’re in love. And you don’t get much more than that, and they don’t expect more,” he said.

“It’s a true blessing for all of us to have had this much time with him,” Jason Carter added.

ABC News’ Matt Foster contributed to this report.